This has not been a good couple of days in the injury department for the Phillies. Here is a quick look at the damage:
– Jose Contreras was placed on the disabled list for the second time this season with elbow inflammation. Lefty Juan Perez was called-up from the Triple-A Iron Pigs to take his roster spot. Perez played for the Pirates in 2006 & 2007 for a short time, but has spent most of his seven-year career in the minors.
– The Phillie Phanatic suffered an injury as well. While entertaining atop the first base dugout at an Iron Pigs game, the Phanatic was hit in the neck with a foul ball. For the Phanatic’s best friend Tom Burgoyne, the neck area was actually Tom’s face.
The Phanatic went to the hospital; I am not sure whether they called a doctor, a veterinarian or an environmental biologist, but the Phanatic will not be joining Contreras on the DL. He should be ready for the weekend series at CBP.
– And finally, Roy Oswalt was pulled from today’s game against the Cardinals after two innings where he allowed four runs. After about one out in the second, Oswalt began teetering sideways off the mound after his delivery. It got worse as the inning went on, where he began hopping and stumbling after pitches while grabbing his lower back.
Why no one else saw this is curious. I was screaming at the TV, but sadly, no one heard me ;o) Oswalt was left in to finish the inning and reports are that he has back spasms.
I suppose the spasms are no surprise; Oswalt has a history of back issues and has been on the DL once already this season with the same issue. In his last four starts, Oswalt has allowed 15 runs in only 21.1 innings.
As for the new bullpen piece, Perez pitched the seventh and walked two batters, but did not allow a run. Kyle Kendrick pitched the 3rd-6th innings and gave up two runs, adding to Oswalt’s four.
So with 6 runs, the Cardinals were ready to run away with the game as the Phillies offense was lulled to sleep. It did matter too much though as Danys Baez put the game well out of reach for the Phillies in the 8th inning. He walked in a run, gave up a 3-run homer and ended up with six earned runs handed over to the Cards. You could say he added insult to all the injuries.
The Phillies went down in flames by a score of 12-2. They travel back home tonight to go back to Interleague play. The Athletics are first on the schedule; Vance Worley will pitch at 7:05pm.
An NL East Update
This has been a weird week overall for the NL East. First, the Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez suddenly quit after the Fish went on a real bender, losing 18 of 19 games in the month of June.
Not to be outdone, the Nationals manager Jim Riggleman one-upped Rodriguez. After the Nationals WON 11 of their last 12 games, the opposite of the Marlins month, Riggleman gave the Nats an ultimatum. He told his GM in a meeting they needed to extend his contract then and there or he would not get on the bus for the Nats next game.
Riggleman quit, just like that. And just like that, he will probably never work in baseball again. Who in their right mind would hire a guy who just quits when he does not get his way? It was unprofessional and just plain stupid. I do not care how disrespected he felt that his contract was not extended sooner. If the team felt it should wait until the end of the year, then he should have just waited it out. Abandoning his team like that is just wrong. Nats fans should be livid.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
The Phillies worked out a 2-year, $5.5 million dollar contract on Monday with bullpen pitcher Jose Contreras. In 2010, Contreras served a variety of roles on the bullpen, including filling in for Brad Lidge and Ryan Madson when they were injured. Contreras appeared in 64 games and ended the season with a 3.34 ERA.
The only real concern with this signing might be Contreras’ age; he is 38 now and will be 40 by the end of his contract. But the Phillies have had some good luck dipping into the senior player pool in the past (Jamie Moyer, for one) so it may be a non-issue.
The Phillies also added Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg to the organization; he will manage the AAA Iron Pigs team. Sandberg was originally drafted by the Phillies in 1978 but played only 13 games for the Phils in 1981 before they traded him in the off-season to the Cubs in what remains one of the worst trades in baseball history. Sandberg went on to have an amazing 15-year career with the Cubs, landing him in the Hall of Fame.
Almost 29 years later, Sandberg is back where he belongs. After the Cubs declined to give him the job as team manager since Lou Piniella retired, Sandberg made his way back to Philly. The Cubs may have made a huge mistake. While that does not really make up for the disastrous trade back in 1982, their loss will still be our gain. And when Charlie Manuel retires, who knows? It could be Sandberg at the helm.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Before today’s game against the Cardinals, the Phillies announced that Jamie Moyer would be placed on the DL after injuring his elbow yesterday. Vance Worley, 22, was called up from AA Reading to take his roster spot. Nelson Figueroa was claimed off waivers from the Astros, which is not great news. But that was the chance the Phils took when they designated Figueroa for assignment. Andrew Carpenter, who pitched 3 innings last night, was sent back to AAA.
We may see a lot of odd moves this week as the Phillies are trying to make a trade, probably for a pitcher. Rumors have Roy Oswalt in the works, but it appears he want guaranteed money through 2012, which the Phillies probably cannot afford. Ruben Amaro Jr. is probably regretting kicking Brett Myers to the curb right about now, among other things.
The Phillies have not been playing well; perhaps this is an understatement. But what makes it even harder to swallow are things like this: With 2 outs and the bases loaded in the 7th inning, the Phillies do NOT pinch hit for the pitcher, Joe Blanton. With a 1-1 tie, knowing that Blanton has not gone past 6 innings all year without running into trouble, how do you not pinch hit for him here?
So the Phillies do not score as Blanton strikes out. Then in the bottom of the 7th, Blanton threw ONE pitch and it went straight out of the ballpark. Am I really the only one who saw this coming? Really? This is just one more piece of evidence to indicate that manager Charlie Manuel has NO confidence in the bullpen.
I do not know conclusively what Blanton’s issue has been this year and I do not really care at this point. Because what I do know, with overwhelming evidence, is that he cannot be counted on past 6 innings, especially in a tight game like this one. He did not enter today’s game with a 6.21 ERA for no reason. The Phillies have to know this as well, unless they are just closing their eyes and praying instead of watching the game.
Yes, the Phillies faced a very good pitcher today. So, knowing runs would be tough to come by, the Phillies should have been ready to use the bullpen. Blanton did get out of the 7th with just the one run, but he gave up the lead and then they sent him out again for the 8th.
And without recording an out, he gave up 2 runs to cushion the lead for the Cards, 4-1. Shocked? I was not. If Manuel keeps turning a blind eye in these situations, this team may not recover.
Fans are frustrated, and with good reason. Philly fans are passionate and understand the game. So it is easy to see how bad moves like we saw tonight infuriate people. We want to see our team win and these mistakes make it seem impossible. How many times do you have to bang your head against a brick wall before you realize it hurts? Not pinch hitting for the pitcher in the 7th inning with the bases loaded is equivalent to the brick wall-head scenario. Of course, that is just one gals humble opinion ;o)
So the Phillies went on to lose by a score of 5-1. The only run for the Phillies was a solo homer from Ryan Howard. Tomorrow afternoon, Cole Hamels will pitch and everyone is praying he can help this team avoid a demoralizing 4-game sweep. Game time is 2:15pm; tune in if you can stomach it. Just load up on Tums first.
Cartoon by http://carablake.wordpress.com/
Phillies fans were singing in the rain tonight as Roy Halladay drown the Marlins. Sprinkles fell throughout most of the game, but had no effect on Halladay’s performance. He went through 8 innings, allowing just 2 runs and striking out 4 batters. Halladay’s home debut was exactly what fans had looked forward to seeing, minus the rain, of course.
The Phillies offense had another spectacular game as well, scoring 8 runs on 12 hits and 5 walks. Every position player except Shane Victorino and Raul Ibanez collect at least 1 RBI and everyone, except Ibanez, had at least one hit in the game. Even Halladay knocked a single. The big fish of the day however, turned out to be Juan Castro; he had 2 hits for 3 RBI while filling in for the injured Jimmy Rollins.
And of course, Chase Utley hit yet another home run, passing Albert Pujols for the most in the National League with 6. It was also Utley’s 4th game in a row with a homer. Clearly, Utley is in the zone, where we hope he will stay for a long time.
What looked like an easy win, turned into a near disaster in the 9th inning. With an 8-2 lead, rookie relief pitcher David Herndon allowed 4 runs on a bunch of ridiculously unlucky dribbling infield hits by the Marlins. Ryan Madson had to be brought in for the save. A huge sigh of relief overcame the fan as Madson got the last two outs and the Phils went home with an 8-6 win. Whew! Tomorrow, they will start Jamie Moyer, a notorious Fish killer, in the 7:05pm start.
Here is a quick injury update as well: JC Romero made a rehab start for the AAA Iron Pigs tonight and pitched a scoreless inning. He threw 17 pitches, 13 of which were strikes. He is inching closer each day to a return to Philly. This is very good news for a bullpen that appears to be struggling without him.
Starter Joe Blanton threw a bullpen session today and is scheduled to make a rehab appearance for single-A Lakewood on Tuesday. Kyle Kendrick will continue to fill in as a starter until Blanton returns, despite two very bad outings so far.
Brad Lidge is working towards his return, which looks like it may be at the end of the month. His pitch speed has improved, but he still has a lot of work to do. Cross your fingers… ;o)
What would have been the perfect ending to an outstanding season for rookie pitcher JA Happ went instead to Chris Coghlan of the Marlins. The Rookie of the Year award is voted on by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America and this year, it looks like they may have gotten it wrong.
While it is difficult to compare a hitter like Coghlan to a pitcher like Happ, perhaps the deciding factor should be which player had the greatest impact on their team? Happ filled the void left by starters Brett Myers and Jamie Moyer; without him, the Phillies would not have made the playoffs. Coghlan’s resume is impressive, but his team did not go to the post-season.
To review, Happ went 12-4 with a 2.93 ERA, topping all rookies in innings pitched (166), strikeouts (119), complete game shut-outs (2) and 3 total shut-outs. Coghlan hit .321 with 9 homers, 47 RBI, 162 hits and a .390 on-base percentage. Again, difficult to compare, but clearly good pitching beats good hitting as has been demonstrated by years of baseball past.
So while myself and probably a lot of people feel that Happ was snubbed having come in 2nd place, these awards are seldom fair. But the second place finish does not diminish what was an amazing season for Happ, who has more than proved his worth to this team. As a consolation prize, I hereby dub JA Happ the “Fan Rookie of the Year“! Yes, complete with a photo montage:
In other news, the Phillies have removed the following players from the 40-man roster, making them free agents: Eric Bruntlett, Tyler Walker, Paul Hoover, Andy Tracy and John Ennis. Tracy will likely be back next year with the Iron Pigs (AAA) in Allentown as well as Ennis. Hoover may find himself serving as a back-up catcher if not one fills that spot right away. But it does look like Bruntlett and Walker will probably be gone.
Free agent signings will begin on Friday.
Photos by Jenn
While not without drama, the Phillies did manage to take 2 games in this 3-game series from the Atlanta Braves, dampening their playoff hopes. Rain also dampened the afternoon with a 2-hour delay taking Cliff Lee out of the game after only 4 innings of work. Lee was on pace to pitch another great game, but on this day, it would be up to the bullpen.
The first inning however, did not bode well for the Phils; Shane Victorino got tossed out of the game for arguing with an umpire after he was tossed out stealing second. Victorino slammed his helmet to the ground and then said a few choice words to the ump. Shane needs to watch himself; with his second ejection this year, he now has a reputation with the umps of being a hot-head. In the bottom of the first inning, Jimmy Rollins dropped the ball trying to tag out Matt Diaz who was caught between bases and a run scored on the play. The run would have scored anyway, but the ejection followed by the missed ball made things look grim. Ben Francisco took over for Victorino and hit an RBI double in the third to tie the game and give the Phillies a lift. In the 4th, a double by Raul Ibanez and a single by Pedro Feliz put two more runs on the board. The rain came and a 2-hour delay ensued. After the delay, Chase Utley nailed an RBI triple to make the score 4-1 and the bullpen took over. Tyler Walker pitched 2 innings with Sergio Escalona and Clay Condrey sharing the 7th. Ryan Madson returned to his 8th inning role and took the 4-1 lead into the 9th. Brad Lidge still looks like crap, but with a 3-run lead, manager Charlie Manuel gave him the ball anyway. As expected, Lidge got into trouble with 2 outs and gave up a run. He finally struck out the last batter and all Phillies fans breathed a collective sigh of relief. Tomorrow is an off day and then a double-header on Tuesday with the Fish! The magic number is now 6! Photography Phun A few weeks ago, I attended a Photo Workshop at an Iron Pigs game (Phillies AAA club). I experimented with different lenses and camera settings in a very low-light environment. It was great fun and our group had access to the photo pit before the game right next to the Pigs dugout. I got some great close-up shots of the players! Here is the full Photo Album from the game; you will notice a lot of different light environments…this is a result of changing lenses, camera settings and just plain fooling around :O) Some of them are really awesome, and some are just a tad off, but I promise you, all of them were FUN! We even got the Mets AAA team to pose for us:
Photos by Jenn
The 9th inning drama needs to stop! Seriously. Ok, we won and I am happy, of course. But are we really going to have to go through this EVERY game? And what if the Phillies only have a 1-run lead? You can NOT trust a 1-run lead to Lidge anymore. Luckily, the Phillies have a nice 8-game pad in the division to figure this out, but with 3 games against the Marlins up next, they had better think quick!
Hope you enjoy the pictures!
The first inning however, did not bode well for the Phils; Shane Victorino got tossed out of the game for arguing with an umpire after he was tossed out stealing second. Victorino slammed his helmet to the ground and then said a few choice words to the ump. Shane needs to watch himself; with his second ejection this year, he now has a reputation with the umps of being a hot-head.
In the bottom of the first inning, Jimmy Rollins dropped the ball trying to tag out Matt Diaz who was caught between bases and a run scored on the play. The run would have scored anyway, but the ejection followed by the missed ball made things look grim.
Ben Francisco took over for Victorino and hit an RBI double in the third to tie the game and give the Phillies a lift. In the 4th, a double by Raul Ibanez and a single by Pedro Feliz put two more runs on the board. The rain came and a 2-hour delay ensued.
After the delay, Chase Utley nailed an RBI triple to make the score 4-1 and the bullpen took over. Tyler Walker pitched 2 innings with Sergio Escalona and Clay Condrey sharing the 7th. Ryan Madson returned to his 8th inning role and took the 4-1 lead into the 9th. Brad Lidge still looks like crap, but with a 3-run lead, manager Charlie Manuel gave him the ball anyway. As expected, Lidge got into trouble with 2 outs and gave up a run. He finally struck out the last batter and all Phillies fans breathed a collective sigh of relief.
Tomorrow is an off day and then a double-header on Tuesday with the Fish! The magic number is now 6!
A few weeks ago, I attended a Photo Workshop at an Iron Pigs game (Phillies AAA club). I experimented with different lenses and camera settings in a very low-light environment. It was great fun and our group had access to the photo pit before the game right next to the Pigs dugout. I got some great close-up shots of the players! Here is the full Photo Album from the game; you will notice a lot of different light environments…this is a result of changing lenses, camera settings and just plain fooling around :O) Some of them are really awesome, and some are just a tad off, but I promise you, all of them were FUN! We even got the Mets AAA team to pose for us:
Photos by Jenn
And the problem is that you have beaten the Phillies 3 games in a row; the first one was a blow-out, the second one is on Brad Lidge, the worst closer in baseball and yesterday’s loss came at the hands of Cole Hamels who got little help from his offense. While this mission has been a total failure, much like the Apollo 13, the Phillies have one more chance at a small amount of redemption this afternoon in Game 4 of the series with the Astros.
Hamels pitched 6 innings in the loss and gave up 4 runs on 8 hits and 2 walks. The most damage was done by ex-Phillie, Michael Bourn who went 2 for 4, stole 2 bases and scored twice. Hamels had Bourn picked off both times he stole but the first time, Jimmy Rollins dropped the ball and the second time, Bourn was milliseconds too fast. It was a very frustrating day for Hamels as the Astros wiped their backsides with him all game long.
Rollins led the game off with a homerun, but it was mostly downhill from there for the offense. The only bright spots at the plate came from the Rollins homer, a solo shot from Ben Francisco and Raul Ibanez went 2 for 4 and looks like he might be ready to break out of his slump. Jayson Werth also hit a solo homer that looked like a fan reached out and grabbed it; the umpires called it a homer and no one argued. It would not have mattered anyway as the Phillies went down 3-4.
A few more September call-ups were added yesterday, although it remains to be seen how much help they will be. John Mayberry Jr. and Kyle Kendrick flew in from Allentown, PA late on Saturday after the Iron Pigs game. Here they are at about 7pm that evening getting ready for the Pigs game:
Personally, I was hoping they would call up Mike Cervenak instead of Mayberry; Cervenak is batting .307 and currently ranks 6th in batting in the International League. Plus, he was the Phillies during the playoff run last season. Mayberry only batted .256 in AAA this year.
So the Phillies final chance to avoid total humiliation at the hands of the Astros will be at 2:05pm this afternoon. JA Happ gets the start – good luck to him!
Photos by Jenn